“Father of Idaho Kids Fails Lie Detector”

Associated Press correspondent Nicholas K. Geranios reports. Excerpt:

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The father of two children missing from a home where three people were killed failed parts of a lie detector test, but is not a suspect in the case, authorities said.

Steve Groene said in a television interview that he lacked an alibi and failed portions of a voluntary polygraph test administered by the FBI, but Kootenai County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger said that was not enough to make Groene a suspect.

“There is no evidence linking Steve Groene to this crime, to make him a suspect or a person of interest,” Wolfinger said Monday.

He attributed the polygraph results to Groene’s emotional distress after his ex-wife and a son were slain and another son, Dylan, 9, and his 8-year-old daughter, Shasta, disappeared more than a week ago.

The polygraph measures a person’s “physiological response to their emotional state,” Wolfinger said. “Steve Groene is very distraught and upset.”

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office is right not to allow the results of Mr. Groene’s polygraph “test” to guide the investigation. Polygraphic lie detection has no scientific basis, regardless of whether or not the person being “tested” is distraught. For discussion, see the message board thread, Idaho Dad Cleared After Told He Failed Poly.

Update 25 March 2021: Steve Groene’s two missing children were kidnapped and abused by serial killer Joseph E. Duncan III. Groene died of cancer in 2019 at the age of 62.

Polygraph Dragnet in Idaho Industrial Sabotage Investigation

KPVI News Channel 6 reports in an article titled, “Wastewater Investigation” regarding an investigation into sabotage at a water treatment facility in the city of Blackfoot, Idaho. This short item is cited here in full:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still searching for any information on those responsible for tampering with Blackfoot’s wastewater treatment facility’s gas line.

FBI agents administered lie detector tests to employees and former employees of the Blackfoot facility to help find out who may have tampered with the gas line. Officials say that say that seven or eight people took the test over the weekend and Monday.

In late November, someone opened the natural gas line at the Blackfoot wastewater treatment plant. An employee could smell the gas in the facility and quickly shut off the gas to the facility. By doing this it may have prevented an explosion that could have left the city without water for months.

Blackfoot police say they expect to hear from the FBI sometime after Christmas about the results from the tests.

The Idaho State Journal reported on this planned polygraph dragnet on 9 December 2004 in an article by Debbie Bryce titled, “Blackfoot looks into gasline tampering,” which is cited here in full:

BLACKFOOT – Blackfoot Chief of Police Dave Moore said the investigation of an incident last week at the city’s waste water treatment center has heated up.

Someone tampered with a gas line at the Blackfoot Waste Water Treatment Center, Moore said. An employee shut off the gas line averting a potential explosion that would have disrupted services to the entire city.

“The only reason that plant is still standing is because it was so saturated with gas it sucked all the oxygen out of the building,” Moore said.

Blackfoot investigators interviewed full-time, part-time and past employees and this week contractors who worked at the facility will be questioned.

Blackfoot officers, in cooperation with the FBI will begin conducting polygraph examinations to narrow their investigation.

“We will pick certain key people and conduct polygraphs to eliminate them,” Moore said. “There are no suspects and everyone is a suspect.”

The department is making the ongoing investigation a priority due to the seriousness of the situation.

A $10 million project to upgrade the Blackfoot facility was recently completed.

Investigators in the case are working to determine who had knowledge and motive to commit the crime.

Chief Moore’s notion that the polygraph can be used to eliminate suspects is a dangerous delusion. Polygraph “testing” has no scientific basis, and the results not a reliable indication of truth or deception. Moreover, the “test” is easily circumvented through the use of simple countermeasures. Indeed, the long lead time between the public announcement of the planned polygraph dragnet and the administration of the polygraph interrogations ensured that the perpetrator would have ample time to learn how to pass the polygraph.

Idaho Supreme Court Rejects Polygraph Testimony

In a ruling handed down Wed., 5 November 2003 in Idaho v. Perry, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled polygraph evidence inadmissible. Craig T. Perry had sought the admission of testimony by Dr. Charles R. Honts regarding a polygraph examination that he administered. Download Idaho Supreme Court 2003 Ruling No. 109 (33 kb PDF).

“Police Union Asks City Leaders to Evaluate Polygraph Policy”

Ryan Panitz reports for KTVB News. Excerpt:

The Boise Police Union wants the city to re-evaluate the polygraph policy.

The union says the police department’s internal rules about taking lie detector tests are not fair if Boise Police Chief Don Pierce does not have to take one.

“The police officers are asking that the chief be held to the same standards as are they,” said Boise Police Union attorney Brian Donesley.

The Boise police union voted “no confidence” in Pierce on Monday. Union leaders took the step after Pierce refused to answer questions on a lie detector about his involvement in the administration of former Mayor Brent Coles and the investigation into misuse of public money.

The union argues if the chief can say no to a polygraph, then the current policy is not fair or consistent.

“The integrity of the whole thing is under challenge by his refusal to use it,” said Donesley. “He shouldn’t be able to order others to do it when he won’t submit to the same process.”

“Boise Police Union Wants to Get Rid of Polygraphs”

Starlyn Klein reports for KCBI-TV in Boise, Idaho. Excerpt:

BOISE – Before the Boise police officers voted no-confidence in their chief, Don Pierce refused to take a polygraph test requested by the police union.

They wanted to ask him questions about the shake-up at City Hall. Pierce also refused to meet with the entire union body. “All we’re saying is why not and we’re assuming that his reason is that he doesn’t trust the polygraph if that’s the case let’s be fair and not apply it to anyone,” said Boise Police Union Attorney, Brian Donesley.